FRI-SAT-SUN
January 7-9, 2000
volume 11, no. 5

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MOVIES & MORALS      INTRODUCTION
    Because Catholics do go to the movies, we bring you each weekend reviews of the Top Ten Movies of the week as rated by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops so you can check the moralometer before plopping down hard-earned money for something. If it's worthwhile, the Bishops will let you know.

      As you'll see with each review there is almost always something objectionable about each movie so go in with an open mind and keep in mind the best advice before you plunk down your hard-earned money at the box-office: Would Jesus and His Mother Mary watch it with you? If not, think twice about seeing it.

      To the right are the top ten for this last week with the Bishops' reviews. Reviews are categorized by:

A-I -- general patronage;

A-II -- adults & adolescents;

A-III -- adults;

A-IV -- adults, with reservations (an A-IV classification designates problematic films that, while not morally offensive in themselves, require caution and some analysis and explanation as a safeguard against wrong interpretations and false conclusions); and finally, ones no one should see:

O -- morally offensive and should be avoided at all costs!

     Reviews are provided through Film & Broadcasting Division of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and figures provided through Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.


TOP TEN MOVIES
FOR THE HOLIDAYS
  • 1.   STUART LITTLE
      (Sony)$16 million in last week:   $79.4 million in three weeks
          Because of scenes of menace and a few cuss words, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents.. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. "Stuart Little" is a fetching live-action fantasy in which a talking white mouse (voice of Michael J. Fox) is happily adopted as the younger son in a human family (in which Geena Davis plays the mom) only to be targeted as a meal by mean neighborhood alleycats. As loosely adapted from E. B. White's 1945 classic, the cheery tale has ample visual appeal, though purists may find the neatly happy ending a cop-out to the author's more probing tale of self-discovery.

  • 2.   THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY
      (Paramount)$12.4 million last week/   $39.8 million in two weeks:
          Because of occasional gory violence, and implied affair, discreet homosexual innuendo, fleeting full nudity and a few instances of rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. "The Talented Mr. Ripley" is a disquieting melodrama set in 1958 Italy where, after befriending a rich expatriate couple (played by Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow), an impoverished young American assumes his identity and stops at nothing to keep the risky charade going. Adapted from Patricia Highsmith's 1955 novel, a chilling cautionary tale of materialism expanding to grotesque evil unfolds replete with seductive visuals and sleek performances -- but an ambiguous ending.

  • 3.   TOY STORY 2
      (Walt Disney)$12.3 million last week/   $208.8 million in seven weeks:
          The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. In "Toy Story 2" the animated adventures of toys that come to life when humans aren't around continues as cowboy Woody voiced by Tom Hanks is stolen by a greedy toy collector, sending Woody's toy buddies, led by Buzz Lightyear, the voice of Tim Allen, on a breathless rescue mission. Featuring even better animation, the briskly paced cartoon sequel is slightly less original, but zippy action scenes and gentle humor should amuse small fry and grown-ups alike.

  • 4.   THE GREEN MILE
      (Warner Brothers)$11.8 million last week/   $76.7 million in four weeks:
          Because of some violence including an horrific electrocution, occasional profanity and intermittent rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. "The Green Mile" is a prison drama set in 1935 Louisana where death-row head guard Tom Hanks comes to believe in the innocence of a huge, gentle black man played superbly by Michael Clarke Duncan whose miraculous healing powers affect those around him in startling ways. Adapted from the serialized 1996 Stephen King novel, the movie is unduly long but presents affecting character studies of good and evil men with spiritual undertones and a sobering depiction of capital punishment.

  • 5.   ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
      (Warner Brothers)$11.7 million last week/   $45.8 million in two weeks:
          Because of much stylized violence, brutality, sexual situations, locker-room frontal nudity, drug abuse, recurring rough language and occasional profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV - adults, with reservations.. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. "Any Given Sunday" is a frenetically jumbled look at a professional football team trying to make the play-offs under veteran coach Al Pacino who puts his career on the line by starting an ailing but reliable old-timer as quarterback rather then the hotshot young maverick favored by the club's devious owner (played by Cameron Diaz). The strictly formula sports story follows the underdogs to the big game in a jazzed-up narrative with jarring scenes of physical and verbal violence on and off the field, in locker rooms, bedrooms and corporate suites, while the coach philosophizes, cajoles, screams and whispers about team unity and the game's dignity.

  • 6.   GALAXY QUEST
      (DreamWorks)$9.7 million last week/   $27.3 million in two weeks:
          No available review from the NCCB as of yet.

  • 7.   BICENTENNIAL MAN
      (Buena Vista)$8.1 million last week:   $39.4 million in three weeks
          Because of mild sexual innuendo and references, as well as occasional profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. "Bicentennial Man" is a futuristic fantasy in which a family robot (played by Robin Williams) actively seeks to become fully human over two centuries and eventually to marry the family's great-granddaughter. The bland tale examines what it is to be human in terms of free will, love and mortality, but its poky pace blunts interest in the robot's earnest quest.

  • 8.   DEUCE BIGALOW: MALE GIGOLO
      (Disney)$5.6 million last week/   $46.4 million in four weeks:
          Because of sexual situations, comically intended violence, brief rear nudity and occasional profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. In "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo" a klutzy loser (played by Rob Schneider) tries and fails at temporary male prostitution in order to pay for accidentally wrecking his bossís condo. The pathetically unfunny comedy dredges up lame double entendres and toilet humor when not mocking characters with assorted physical diseases and disabilities who resort to paying for male companionship.

  • 9.   MAN ON THE MOON
      (Universal)$5.4 million last week:/   $24.6 million in two weeks
          Because of sexual situations with nudity, a live-in relationship, brief wrestling violence, occasional profanity and sporadic rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. "Man on the Moon" is an uninvolving biography about 1970s-80's comedian Andy Kaufman (played by Jim Carrey), whose peculiar sense of humor, elaborte charades and abrasive style drew some ardent admirers and a largely indifferent public by the time of his death at age 35. Despite Carrey's uncanny performance, no insights emerge about the oddball entertainer and viewers may wonder why this marginal figure merited a major motion picture biography.

  • 10.   ANNA AND THE KING
      (Fox)$5.36 million last week:   $24.7 million in three weeks
          Because of sporadic violence and references to polygamy and concubines, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. In "Anna and the King", 19th-century English schoolmarm Jodie Foster and imperious king of Siam Chow Yun-Fat learn much from each other as she teaches his 58 children, while a duplicitous general plots to kill the king and all his heirs. After a sluggish start the lavish historical drama goes beyond sumptuous visuals to explore contrasting East-West cultures and beliefs while maintaining suspense about the assassination plot.

      While the reviews by the NCCB are very good and provide the ratings, we have discovered another site which will give you a much more detailed survey of what to watch out for. Just click on Christian Analysis of Culture Alert.

         

              

  • January 7-9, 2000
    volume 11, no. 5
    MOVIES & MORALS

    To print out text of Today's issue, go to:
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